Pinay restaurateur to guest at Netherlands Michelin star resto
MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino cooking talent behind Purple Yam Malate (PYM) will guest chef at De Karpendonkse Hoeve, a Michelin star restaurant in the Netherlands, from September 7 to 13 later this year.
“All of us were quite shocked and dumbstruck but very excited at the prospect of showcasing what we do to a broader European public with a restaurant of such stature and reputation,” Amy Besa, co-owner of Purple Yam, told Rappler in an email.
The owners of De Karpendonkse Hoeve ate at PYM late last year and “fell in love with the Philippines, Filipino food and flavors” that they wanted Purple Yam to guest chef at their restaurant.
“They have invited us to showcase our culture and history through our ingredients, cooking techniques and flavor profiles,” wrote Besa in a Facebook post earlier this week with a picture of her husband, Chef Romy Dorotan. The post has since garnered more than 400 likes and been shared around 200 times.
Aside from Besa and Dorotan, PYM chefs Rap Cristobal, Noah Villaluz and Bryan Tim Ong will be going to Eindhoven to carry the food banner of the Philippines.
Besa found out about the invitation to guest chef mid-May this year from a couple who are regular customers of PYM. The couple brought the owners of De Karpendonkse Hoeve to Purple Yam last October to try Filipino cuisine.
“They regularly bring in foreign guests to give them a taste of Philippine flavors and ingredients that one cannot easily find elsewhere,” said Besa.
The couple admitted to Besa that they did not know their foreign guests were restaurant owners in the Netherlands, much less that the restaurant had a Michelin star and was located in the college town of Eindhoven.
Ingrid van Eeghem, owner of de Karpendonkse Hoeve, invited the couple to her restaurant in return for giving them a taste of the Philippines.
“It was there that she asked them to contact me about doing a possible Guest Chef week with them,” said Besa.
‘Once in a lifetime’
When Besa found out about the opportunity to Guest Chef, she knew right away that she wanted to go. When emailing with van Eeghem, Besa asked if she could also bring the PYM kitchen crew with her to the Netherlands.
“I have really great kids working in our kitchen at Malate – no one is older than 24 years old,” Besa said. “I wanted to give them the once in a lifetime experience of cooking in a Michelin star restaurant in Europe. And not to cook the restaurant’s food, but our food.”
Since her husband, Chef Romy Dorotan, will be representing the Purple Yam Brookyn branch, she is looking forward to seeing members of the two kitchens work together.
“It will be great synergy because each kitchen does things differently,” Besa said. “Each kitchen has to deal with different ingredients, different environments, different realities.”
Filipino food showcase
To showcase authentic Philippine food and maintain Purple Yam’s unique flavor, Besa and her team will be shipping local ingredients to the Netherlands.
“Our best customers have always been Europeans along with the Japanese and Australians,” she said. “They appreciate the new flavors that we incorporate into our philosophy of cooking which is using the best, freshest, local and artisanal products one can find.”
Among the ingredients they plan to bring are Cordillera heirloom rice varieties, native coconut sap vinegar from Catanduanes, sukang Iloko (sugarcane vinegar), as well as basic staples like homemade bagoong na alamang - without food coloring or MSG - and purong patis from Lingayen.
“Our flavors are in these ingredients which were grown on Philippine soil, harvested by Filipino farmers and made by Filipino artisans,” Besa told Rappler. “These ingredients are intrinsic in representing the true flavors of our environment.”
Besa said she is confident that the diners at De Karpendonkse Hoeve will love their food. They have tested them time and time again in New York City and in Manila – for 20 years, in fact.
Before opening the first Purple Yam branch in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, in 2009, Besa and Dorotan operated another Filipino restaurant, Cendrillon, in SoHo, Manhattan, for 13 and a half years.
These past 20 years have been “a great learning experience” for them, Besa said.
Throughout the years, they have been covered by established media such as food and news magazines like Gourmet and newspapers like The New York Times. In today’s age of social media, their reach has grown exponentially.
“I am happy that we are still around to carry the Philippine food banner when [Dorotan and I] are in our 60s, and quite lucky that social media magnifies all our efforts to promote the cuisine,” Besa said. – Rappler.com
Kimberly Go is a Rappler intern